Future State: Wonder Woman #1 Review: A Gorgeous and Exhilarating Debut

There's already been a lot of fanfare in the past few months surrounding Future State, the two-month-long comics event that is set to reinvigorate and help revolutionize the DC Comics universe. Even before a page of the event was officially published, fans have speculated and hoped about what the event could entail -- especially when it comes to Yara Flor, the new character who will be taking on the mantle of Wonder Woman in the event. With Yara quickly becoming a fan-favorite just based on her concept and character design (and Warner Bros. already developing a new TV series centered around her for The CW), it's safe to say that her first appearance in Future State: Wonder Woman #1 has had a lot riding on it. The issue, which arrives in stores today, not only rises to that occasion but soars far above it, creating an introduction to a character and corner of the DC universe that feel like a stylish and significant breath of fresh air.

Future State: Wonder Woman #1 opens in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, as Yara deals with an unpredictable superhero threat. After a few beats, Yara crosses paths with Caipora, and the pair come up with a plan to travel into the Underworld, in order for Yara to achieve a very specific goal. As the duo travel into the Underworld, Yara - and the readers - are met with characters and circumstances that evolve in some truly unexpected ways.

The plot of Future State: Wonder Woman #1 unfolds in a way that some readers might not be expecting, as it dives head-first into the spur-of-the-moment narrative Yara is going through, instead of trying to showcase every single aspect of her origin story. The parts of her origin that are covered in the issue, which are recounted in excellently-executed bits of narration, quickly set the tone for the series and provoke a lot of intrigue. The focus here is clearly on who Yara is as a character, and the issue wastes no time celebrating what sets her apart from the other women who have held the Wonder Woman mantle. There's something unbelievably entertaining watching more of Yara's characterization gradually be revealed in any of the issue's scenes -- whether she's fighting a fantastical beast in the forest or fighting the mundane societal conventions of the Underworld. It feels reflective of the character-based storytelling that was seen a lot in the Silver and Bronze Ages, where the joy comes from seeing a character you like be put into cool situations, and not deal with some new emotional trauma or world-breaking conflict.

On virtually every level, Future State: Wonder Woman #1 is a clear showcase of just how stellar Joelle Jones - who both writes and draws the series - is as a comic creator. There are shades of Jones' other narrative and aesthetic work in the issue - the slyness and playfulness of her Catwoman run, the narrative complexity and tenacity of her work on Lady Killer, and the gorgeous sartorial flair of basically every cover she's drawn over the past few years. But Future State: Wonder Woman #1 really elevates what Jones is capable of, both in terms of characters and worldbuilding. There's a visceral feeling behind every time Yara swings her sword or shifts her facial expression, and Caipora serves as an adorable and soulful foil as well. It also helps that the larger world the characters inhabit feels unbelievably fully-realized, with some stellar creative choices being made in terms of architecture and background design. There's also something wonderful about seeing Jones draw magical creatures (of which there are a surprising amount in this issue), with a few of them sure to be fan-favorites by the time readers finish this issue.

Similarly to their collaborations on Catwoman, Jordie Bellaire's colors perfectly complement Jones' art, while also helping elevate it into something truly extraordinary. The uses of greens, reds, and yellows in this issue - particularly with Yara's costume - are breathtaking to behold, and really help cement the fantastical and fresh nature of Yara's journey. And Clayton Cowles' lettering helps tie it all together, bringing just the right blend of fantastical and authentically human.

Future State: Wonder Woman #1 might not be the comic that some readers are expecting, but that makes it even more of a joy to behold. Like its protagonist, it jumps right out of the gate with its weapons drawn and a smile upon its face, and with Joelle Jones, Jordie Bellaire, and Clayton Cowles expertly bringing the story to life, the end result is genuinely infectious to read. This is the kind of Wonder Woman story that honors exactly what the mantle means while also reclaiming it for a new generation, and it's done with a playfulness and feminine power that would make William Moulton Marston proud. Whether as Wonder Woman or Wonder Girl, It's clear that Yara Flor is shaping up to be a pivotal character within the DC universe, and this debut issue sets an incredibly high bar for her future appearances.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Published by DC Comics

On January 5, 2021

Written by Joelle Jones

Art by Joelle Jones

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Colors by Jordie Bellaire

Lettering by Clayton Cowles